Every one of us is afraid at some point, and those who tell you otherwise are simply liars. Fear is a natural reaction – and in many situations it is useful: as an early warning system to question decisions. But fear and worry can also paralyze you and trap your thoughts into a loop. Here are some strategies for dealing productively with your fears.
When you are overtaken by fear, it helps to know where it comes from. Let’s do a little experiment: Imagine a pink elephant in a tutu. If someone mentions this image to you, and tells you not to think about it, it’s impossible not to. Similarly, you’ll repeat the negative thoughts and feelings banging around inside your head, even when you tell yourself you shouldn’t.
These self-destructive thoughts and feelings are part of you, but they don’t define who you are. Clinical psychologist Scott Symington has developed the “Two-Screen Method” – an emotional management system to help people deal with worries, fears, anxieties and addictions. Here is our summary:
Freedom from Anxious Thoughts & FeelingsNew Harbinger Publications
Once you understand how fears work, there are several other strategies for handling them better. Life coach Kate Swoboda advises that you start by tackling your low-level, daily anxieties. Her exercises take time, but they’ll nourish new self-knowledge. She focuses on long-term, daily work.
The Courage HabitNew Harbinger Publications
Fears don’t just paralyze individuals, they can paralyze entire organizations. Tom Rieger – an organizational expert for the Gallup Inc. performance management consultancy – examines the destructive effect of fear within firms and discusses what executives can do to combat it.